The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

January 14, 2014

Quick, send Target your credit card number

OTTUMWA — You may find the idea questionable: Send your credit card number to Target's data security partner so they can store it in a huge database of credit card info.

"Yes ... I think everybody is a little reticent," Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller acknowledged when asked by the Courier about this new plan.

Yet the goal of the program, announced during an Iowa press conference Tuesday, is to prevent the theft of credit card information and the use of that information to make purchases with a consumer's card. State attorneys general have worked with Target, which has agreed to provide the service free for a year to consumers who used a card at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. There will not, at the end of the year, be an automatic extension added to the security membership, Miller assured residents.

As recently as Friday, Target revealed that millions of records had been accessed, credit card and debit card information stolen, which included account numbers, consumer names, phone numbers and, warned Miller, PIN numbers.

Citizens may hesitate about sending their information to anyone right now, but this time it's a good idea, Miller said.

"Iowans have a lot of common sense," he said. "Experian’s ProtectMyID ... is very unlikely to have a breach. We're [recommending Iowans] go ahead and do this."

To sign up, send an email or call Target toll free. They'll provide details.

"ProtectMyID provides a copy of a credit report, daily credit monitoring ... [credit card] theft insurance," the attorney general said.

He explained the monitoring as a lookout for patterns that don't fit the consumer's normal behavior. In that case, they will consult with the member. Target shoppers (any Target shopper, not just those who used a credit card on the specific dates) have until April to sign up.

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